Coming away from this week at Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Summit with one key insight would be negligent, if not criminal. So here, for starters, is just one of many …

“Pay attention.”

You never know in life what miraculous coincidence will occur if you’re just willing to pay attention. As @EdBennett shared, Dozer the Dog gained fame and raised a crazy good amount of money for UMMC cancer research because someone paid attention. He wasn’t shooed away. He wasn’t “that damn dog.” Someone paid attention and captured the footage of Dozer the dog crossing the finish line to turn a simple moment into a meaningful event. That moment wouldn’t exist without someone paying attention to the details.

It can be hard to focus in the swirling beehive that is today’s suite of communication vehicles. As a newbie to it all, I marveled — and was at times dismayed — to see heads down, eyes locked on screens, and fingers clacking away on laptops, ipads, tablets, and phones during presentations. Was the audience engaged with the speaker? Or, those they were tweeting or messaging? Or were they only engaged with themselves? Ultimately, what key detail might the audience have missed while communicating real time?

Did the Dozer moment pass them by?

I’m the mom of 8 and 10 year-old boys. So, I’m accustomed to saying, “Pay attention.” “Did you notice that?” “Are you listening?” And I do so because miracles, large and small, begin with the details. They are only possible if you pay attention.

The fruits of tuning in to the details were overwhelmingly apparent in @ePatientDave’s moving story. And as a fellow patient, that is one important thing I take away from this week. Social media does hold unlimited potential to help, inform, guide, and market to healthcare communities. To maximize impact for all stakeholders, we have to retain our ability to stay connected with people, not just their screen names.

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